Brian Billick Says Sam Koch Had Hall of Fame-Worthy Career; Full Reaction to Punter’s Retirement
When Sam Koch made his NFL debut in 2006, the Ravens had Steve McNair at quarterback and Brian Billick as head coach. Kyle Hamilton, the Ravens’ first decide on this yr’s draft, was 5 years previous.
That places perspective on how lengthy Koch, who introduced his retirement yesterday after 16 seasons in Baltimore, performed. However, the punter’s legacy goes past being the franchise’s all-time chief in video games (256).
“When you look at the career that he’s had, I would definitely say this is Hall of Fame level,” Billick said on Glenn Clark Radio yesterday. “He did change the game at that position. To me, that’s the ultimate definition of a Hall of Fame player.”
Koch faces lengthy odds when it comes to enshrinement within the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as Ray Guy is the one punter with a bust in Canton, however there is not any denying the influence Koch has had on the game.
“A sixth-round pick out of Nebraska in 2006, Koch’s innovative ways helped evolve the art of punting in the NFL,” The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec wrote. “As a holder, he was so sure-handed and precise that former Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg maintains that nobody in the history of the league has been better in that role. In a league where specialists are often treated as separate entities from the team, Koch’s teammates long considered the punter one of the best athletes on the Ravens. He certainly was one of their fiercest competitors, his wry smile and blue-collar approach obscuring a fiery demeanor, maniacal attention to detail and an insistence on holding himself and his special teams teammates to the highest of standards.
“Koch, although, was at all times hardest on himself. He was consistently tinkering, looking for methods to enhance. When he entered the league, he was a directional punter, targeted on pinning returners on the sideline or simply booting the ball as excessive and deep as attainable. But about halfway by way of his profession, looking for methods to nullify opposing returners in a division that included Antonio Brown, Josh Cribbs and Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones, Koch added to his repertoire. It began with a cross-body punt, the place he angled himself towards the fitting sideline, however swung his foot throughout his physique and despatched the ball hovering towards the left sideline. When executed appropriately, the punt offers returners little time to get to the spot and return the ball. As the years glided by, Koch launched extra punts, diversifying spins, trajectories and launch angles.”
Koch played a key role in the Ravens’ win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. With the Ravens leading by five and backed up at their own 8 with 12 seconds left, Koch took an intentional safety by taking the snap in the end zone and running off eight seconds before going out of bounds. He then booted the ensuing free kick 61 yards, which allowed his teammates time to get down the field and cover the kick to win the game.
“Looking again on it 9 years later, the game-ending two-play sequence is a becoming summation of Koch’s profession,” Zrebiec wrote. “Whether it was getting the ball down for a game-winning field-goal try or shifting area place late with an extended punt and even changing a key fourth down together with his arm, the Ravens trusted Koch implicitly when he had the ball in his palms.
“That’s not something you can say about a lot of punters, but Koch was so much more than that to the Ravens over 16 years.”
Here’s a pattern of what others across the league mentioned about Koch yesterday: